Owen Sheers

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'Sheers writes with dazzle and poetic economy'
- The Times

Owen Sheers: Biography

Owen Sheers, Photo by Andrea Bakacs
Owen Sheers, Photo by Andrea Bakacs
Owen Sheers was born in Fiji in 1974 and brought up in Abergavenny, South Wales. He was educated at King Henry VIII comprehensive, Abergavenny and New College, Oxford. The winner of an Eric Gregory Award and the 1999 Vogue Young Writer’s Award, his first collection of poetry, The Blue Book (Seren, 2000) was short-listed for the Welsh Book of the Year and the Forward Prize Best 1st Collection 2001. His debut prose work The Dust Diaries (Faber 2004), a non-fiction narrative set in Zimbabwe, was short-listed for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize and won the Welsh Book of the Year 2005. In 2004 he was Writer in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust and was selected as one of the Poetry Book Society’s 20 Next Generation Poets. Owen’s 2nd collection of poetry, Skirrid Hill (Seren, 2005) won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award. Unicorns, almost his one man play based on the life and poetry of the WWII poet Keith Douglas was developed by Old Vic, New Voices.

Owen’s first novel, Resistance (Faber, 2008) won a 2008 Hospital Club Creative Award and was short-listed for the Writers Guild Best Book Award. Resistance is translated into ten languages. Owen’s collaboration with composer Rachel Portman, The Water Diviner’s Tale, an oratorio for children, was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms 2007. Owen was a 2007 Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library. He recently wrote and presented the BBC 4 TV series A Poet's Guide to Britain and wrote the introduction and selected the poems for the accompanying anthology (Penguin 2009). His novella White Raven's (Seren, 2009), published as part of Seren's 'New Stories from the Mabinogion' series, is a contemporary response to the myth of 'Branwen Daughter of Llyr'. Owen has recently co-written the screenplay for the film of Resistance which was released in November 2011. He is currently the 2012 Welsh Rugby Union Artist in Residence.